China launched five satellites into orbit on a rocket lifted from an offshore platform on Saturday (April 30), setting a new distance record for the country’s offshore launches.
A Long March 11 solid-fuel rocket was successfully launched from an ocean platform in the East China Sea to launch its payloads into orbit. It was the second launch in as many days for the China National Space Administration, which launched two more satellites from a spaceport on Earth on Friday.
Saturday’s sea launch marked the furthest offshore launch yet for China. It was the third maritime launch for the country, which has launched Long March 11 boosters from its De Bo 3 platform since 2020.
“The launch site is the furthest from the port for us so far,” Zhang Ming, Long March 11’s deputy chief designer, told state news channel CCTV, though he did not say how far the platform was from shore. “The mission will accumulate technologies and experience for our future sea launch.”
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The five satellites launched by Long March 11 “will mainly provide commercial remote sensing services for industries such as land census, urban planning and natural disaster monitoring,” CCTV reported.
Saturday’s mission was originally scheduled to launch on Friday (April 29), but was delayed due to weather, according to SpaceNews. It came on the heels of the launch of a Long March 2C rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center on the ground to launch two remote sensing satellites into orbit.
On Friday, the Long March 2C rocket blasted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center at 12:11 pm Beijing time with the Siwei 01 and Siwei 02 remote sensing satellites.
“The two satellites will provide commercial remote sensing data services for national industries, including natural resources, surveying and mapping, marine and environmental protection, as well as emerging markets such as urban security and digital rural development,” he reported. China’s state CCTV news channel. .
In addition to its traditional land launches like the one on Friday, China aims to launch up to three maritime missions with the Great March 11 in 2022, officials with the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation said in a translated statement.